Welcome back to Chef in the Kitchen, a recurring Eater photo feature where we boldly go where few diners have gone before — into Portland restaurant kitchens — to get a sneak peek of the chef du jour hard at work.
Vitaly Paley likes to get dirty. The Paley's Place chef/owner — who will soon expand his empire downtown with two projects in the works — uses his hands for nearly every part of the cooking process that doesn't require a knife or a pestle, including pulling piping-hot rabbit meat off the spit.
For his Easter-appropriate roasted rabbit salad (republished in author Ashley Gartland's Dishing Up Oregon cookbook), Paley wraps the rabbit in green fennel tops and dried fennel twigs (from Dancing Roots Farm) after seasoning the game with fennel pollen. The rabbit hits the spit with veggies like fennel bulbs, carrots, shallots, and garlic; and after the rabbit becomes tender, the meat is removed and mixed with the vegetable mixture, as well as fennel, parsley, tarragon, chervil, and salad greens. For the final herb-y punch, an aioli is mixed up with even more fennel pollen and tossed into the greens — all entirely done by hand.
· Paley's Place [Official site]
· All Previous Paley's Place Coverage [Eater PDX]